Index of content:
Volume 134, Issue 5, November 2013
- MUSIC AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS 
Absolute pitch among students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music: A large-scale direct-test study134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824450View Description Hide Description
This paper reports a large-scale direct-test study of absolute pitch (AP) in students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Overall note-naming scores were very high, with high scores correlating positively with early onset of musical training. Students who had begun training at age ≤5 yr scored 83% correct not allowing for semitone errors and 90% correct allowing for semitone errors. Performance levels were higher for white key pitches than for black key pitches. This effect was greater for orchestral performers than for pianists, indicating that it cannot be attributed to early training on the piano. Rather, accuracy in identifying notes of different names (C, C#, D, etc.) correlated with their frequency of occurrence in a large sample of music taken from the Western tonal repertoire. There was also an effect of pitch range, so that performance on tones in the two-octave range beginning on Middle C was higher than on tones in the octave below Middle C. In addition, semitone errors tended to be on the sharp side. The evidence also ran counter to the hypothesis, previously advanced by others, that the note A plays a special role in pitch identification judgments.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4822479View Description Hide Description
In this article, interleaved finite difference time domain methods are developed for the purpose of simulating the dynamics of the acoustic bore, using, as a starting point, an impedance formulation of wave propagation in an acoustic tube; attention is focused here on modeling of viscothermal and radiation losses in the time domain. In particular, in contrast to other methods, the bore, including the mouth-piece and bell, is treated as a unit, and is not subdivided into smaller units such as cylindrical or conical segments. Numerical simulations of input impedances are then compared with measurement for a variety of brass instruments.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824338View Description Hide Description
This article investigates the relationship between the shape of the mouthpiece and its acoustical properties in brass instruments. The hypothesis is that not only different volumes but also particular cup shapes affect the embouchure and the tone quality in both a physical and perceivable way. Three professional trumpet players were involved, and two different internal cup contours characterized by a “U” and a “V” shape with two types of throat junction (round and sharp) were chosen, based on a Vincent Bach 1 [1/2] C medium mouthpiece. A third intermediate contour was designed as a combination of these. Over 600 sound samples were produced under controlled conditions, the study involving four different stages: (1) Simulation of air-flow, (2) analysis of the sound spectra, (3) study of the players' subjective responses, and (4) perceptual analysis of their timbral differences. Results confirm the U shape is characterized by a stronger air recirculation and produces stronger spectral components above 8 kHz, compared to the V shape. A round throat junction may also be preferable to a sharp one in terms of playability. There is moderate agreement on the aural perception of these differences although the verbal attributes used to qualify these are not shared.
Acoustical interaction between vibrating lips, downstream air column, and upstream airways in trombone performance134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4823847View Description Hide Description
This paper presents experimental results on the acoustical influence of the vocal tract in trombone performance. The experimental approach makes use of measurements at the interface between the player and instrument, allowing a relative comparison between upstream airways and the downstream air column impedances, as well as an estimation of the phase of the impedance of the upstream and downstream systems. Measurements were conducted over the full traditional range of playing, during sustained tones with varying dynamic, as well as in special effects such as pitch bending. Subjects able to play over the full range demonstrated significant upstream influence in the higher register of the instrument. These players were categorized in two groups according to their ability to control the phase of the upstream impedance and their ability to generate powerful downstream acoustic energy. Sustained tones played with varying dynamics showed a general tendency of a decrease in vocal-tract support with increase in loudness. Although pitch bends did not involve significant upstream influence at , results suggest modification of the lip behavior during bending. Vocal-tract tuning at tone transitions was also investigated and found to potentially contribute to slur articulations.